The Kansas City Wizards must hate coming to Giants Stadium. There isn’t a player on the current Wizards who has experienced winning at Giants Stadium while with Kansas City in the past eight years. The Wizards winless streak in Jersey goes back to 2000, a stretch of 11 matches at Giants Stadium without a win.
That streak was pushed to 12 courtesy of a stunning late equalizer from rookie Danleigh Borman, whose stumbling goal tumble is looking less absurd and more like the dance of a kid with real potential. The goal capped a furious rally by the Red Bulls, who created countless chances even as they had a player and their coach sent off.
SBI Correspondents Andrew Keh and Mike Cross took in the action and share their views of the match with us:
Borman’s goal caps a wet, but fun night at Giants Stadium
By ANDREW KEH
I graduate from college this week (hold your applause, please), and in the very early hours of Sunday morning, long after I had returned from Giants Stadium, I couldn’t help but notice how much I had in common with the Red Bulls’ goal scorer, Danleigh Borman.
We both had much to celebrate that Saturday night—he a second goal in as many games and I a long awaited entrance into the world of adulthood and unemployment—and in our respective states of rapture we both ended up, at various times that night, falling over backwards and hugging inebriated strangers.
But while my prospects for the summer may look bleak, the rookie midfielder seems to have a bright future ahead of him. His entrance onto the field of play in the second half injected some much-needed life into the Red Bull midfield, and his 81st minute goal helped salvage a game New York would have been unlucky to lose.
In the first half, then, the Red Bulls’ attacking play left much to be desired. With Claudio Reyna out, there was no one to sit below the forward line and offer pressure through the middle. As such, the Red Bulls were resigned to playing one wide ball after another, each of them inevitably ending with a headed clearance from the solid Kansas City defense. Mike Magee, it should be noted, did make two dangerous looking runs into the box in the early minutes of the match. But the second ended with him on the ground, clutching his leg in pain, and he disappeared for the rest of the half before coming out at the interval.
I was impressed, as I have been all season, with the shape and play of the Red Bulls’ backline. Their downfall, once again, came while defending a set piece. But in open play, as always, they moved with an organized sense of purpose and determination that otherwise smothered the Wizard’s attack.
As the game entered its final ten minutes, my friend Alex turned to me and suggested we begin to head out. “They’re not going to score,” he said. “And I’m soaked.” Obviously, we weren’t going to leave. He knew it and I did as well. But then, right on cue, Borman took a clever pass from Juan Pablo Angel and buried it with force behind Wizards keeper Kevin Hartman, who had been excellent all game.
The crowd of 15,755 erupted with joy, their feelings no doubt encapsulated in the actions of one fan who could not resist the prospect of physical contact with the goal scorer. Meanwhile, my friends and I turned to Alex with a nod of understanding.
Everyone in this stadium, we thought, has Alex to thank for his well-timed, reverse jinx. There’s nothing quite like it in sports.
A tie will have to do on Wizards road trip from hell
By MIKE CROSS
Well the bleeding has stopped at least for the moment. With a tie in the latest installment of this odyssey like road trip the Wizards walk away from this game with something at least. Does anybody remember the Wizards beating the Fire in Chicago and being the toast of the league? Me neither. A two month road trip will do that to you. Note to whoever dreamed up this little gem; it’s a really bad idea! I doubt Kansas City still remembers they have a soccer team and it’s still a month and two more road games before we see the boys back home.
How about that Jimmy Conrad! Three goals in the same year and you can hardly pick out one from the others. But this really wasn’t the Wizards offense we were expecting. Not necessarily from the standpoint of how many goals they’re getting, although that’s a concern, but the look of it. We expected to see a wide open flowing, and attacking brand of soccer. We did see that some in the first half of the game but then in the second half it felt like we bunkered down again hoping to hold onto the 1-0 result.
I don’t feel like we miss Eddie Johnson, the results would basically be the same just with a lot more whining and finger pointing. Johnson’s speed only game had pretty much run its course by the end of last season. Teams had figured out how to defend his one move and by August he was a non-factor. I’ll take Claudio Lopez any day even though he is a different player than I was envisioning. From what I’ve seen so far he seems to be a creator who can finish as opposed to a finisher who can create.
Dave van den Bergh is another in the long list of former Wizards who litter MLS. I suppose it’s only natural that they’d come back to bite you at least occasionally. I wonder if the fans of other MLS teams always feel like they’re going against former players? It’s always been a mystery to me why van den Bergh left Kansas City. Good left side players are hard to come by and we seemed to be in an awfully big hurry to get rid of him. I have never heard a satisfactory explanation and I suppose we never will since the folks who brought him to Kansas City from Holland aren’t here anymore. He still has his skills even if he as lost whatever speed he might once have had. He’s a useful player in MLS and certainly played a very good game against the Wizards.
Well the good news is that the road trip continues against Western conference opposition. That hopefully will offer us some hope of getting some more results as it’s clear that the power in MLS really doesn’t go much farther west than Kansas City.